Summer Classic East Recruiting Notebook

Summer Classic East Notebook

– The Arkansas Hawks entered Hoop Group’s Summer Classic East as one of the favorites to win the 17U bracket. Point guard Imara Ready is already committed to Mississippi State, but he’s not the most well-known player on the roster. That title goes to Trey Thompson, who is ranked among the top 50 players nationally in the Class of 2014. Thompson recently added an offer from Mississippi State to go along with Memphis, Florida and his home-state Arkansas Razorbacks.

– Thompson’s not the only other Hawk to pick up an offer from Mississippi State. Thomas Alexander, a 6-foot-7 wing with length and athleticism, said he was offered by the Bulldogs as well. Crazier still is that he said that is the only offer that he currently holds. A Class of 2013 prospect, Alexander played well in front of the likes of Pitt, Wagner, Siena, LIU and St. Bonaventure, to name just a few.

– The Mid-Atlantic Select stocked quite a bit of talent on their roster at the Summer Classic East. We’ve already told you about Garland Owens, who has gotten himself interest from West Virginia, Miami and LSU with his play in July. He’s far from the only scholarship player with the Select, however. Lavon Long is a 6-foot-6 combo-forward from Baltimore, MD, that is strong and athletic. He’s also now in shape, as he’s dropped about 15 pounds to streamline his body. VCU, Dayton, and Rider had offered him prior to this month, and he’s since picked up offers from Binghamton and Siena.

Mike Wolfe is a 6-foot-8 power forward that is a high-flyer. He’s lanky and could stand to add the 15 pounds that Long lost, be calling him athletic is an understatement. Holy Cross, Bucknell, Kennesaw State, Radford and Quinnipiac have offered him, while Iona is starting to show some heavy interest.

Abdul-Malik Abu and Jared Terrell are both ranked in the top 75 in the Class of 2014. They are also teammates on the Expressions 16U team, something they want to continue at the next level. Temple, Iowa State, Providence, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Temple are among the schools that have offered both of them. Abu also holds an offer from Michigan State, while Terrell — who sprained his ankle pretty badly at the event in King of Prussia, Pa. — is getting some interest from Syracuse and Florida.

Eric Anderson is 6-foot-6 forward from the Haverford School that is currently player with the Jersey Shore Warriors. He’s currently got offers from Davidson, Fairfield and Princeton, but he’s taken an unofficial visit to St. Joe’s as well. Academics are a priority for him, and he said he’d like to stay around Philly.

– The guy that everyone came to see on Mass Rivals is Class of 2014 stud Noah Vonleh. While the top five recruit was out from much of the weekend while he battled an ankle sprain, it allowed top 60 recruit Kaleb Joseph to shine. Joseph said he’s been offered by Boston College, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Tennessee, Maryland, and Providence, and is also drawing interest from Cincinnati, Kansas State, and others.

– But the Rivals, who played in the 17U Division despite having just a single Class of 2013 member on their roster, have plenty of other talent as well. Idris Taqqee was one guy that stood out at Summer Classic East. He has offers from UVM and Boston U. and he’s made some unofficial visits to see Boston College, Tennessee and St. Joe’s.

Jalen Jenkins is a 6-foot-7 forward that is currently in the Class of 2012 and committed to George Mason. But Jenkins is considering going to prep school for a year as well. He just turned 17, making him one of the youngest players in his class.

– Also on the New Heights roster is Alex Wolfe, a 6-foot-9 center that spent his first two years at Blair Academy. Wolfe is transferring to Greenwich HS in Connecticut for his junior year. Yale is among the schools that have offered him, according to Wolfe, but he’s starting to get some interesting from the likes of Vanderbilt, Iowa State, USC, Tennessee and Marshall. Hassan Martin also updated his recruitment. The 6-foot-6 lefty has offers pouring in, including Iowa, Iowa State, Providence, Kansas State, UMass, Fordham, St. Joseph’s and Rhode Island.

Roland Nyama is the sleeper on the Westchester Hawks team, but the star may be Samuel Dingba. Dingba moved to the States from Cameroon two years ago, and while his english isn’t great, his game is. The 6-foot-5 forward is athletic and strong, with the kind of frame that can get much stronger. His offensive repertoire has a ways to go, but as a member of the Class of 2013, he has plenty of time to develop it. Harvard, Yale, UPenn, Boston College, Boston U. and St. Bonaventure have all offered Dingba, while NC State, Western Kentucky and West Virginia have started to show some interest in the last week. Like Nyama, Dingba is a very good student that takes academics seriously. He said he wants to go into business when his basketball career is over because he wants to make some money.

Rob Dauster is a national contributor for NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated. Follow Rob Dauster: @RobDauster

17U Final Four Recap Hoop Group West Virginia Jam Fest

Hoop Group’s West Virginia Jam Fest played their Final Four on Saturday, and it was every bit as exciting as you would have expected.

In the first semifinal, Team Philly and Team Takeover went to overtime. With just over a minute left, Takeover’s Coleman Johnson — who had 14 points — hit an eight foot jumper to take a 57-55 lead. After trading turnovers, Team Philly tied the game up on two free throws. On the ensuing possession, Takeover ran out the clock and had two looks from within five feet, but couldn’t get them to drop.

In the overtime, Philly’s Brendan Taylor scored to take the initial lead, but a three from Myles Tate gave Takeover the lead with 40 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Tate stripped Maurice Watson and got the ball to Tillman Dunbar. Dunbar was fouled and hit both free throws to give Takeover a three point lead. Philly had a look at a three to tie the game, but the shot was off the mark and Takeover advanced to the final.

At the same time, the NY Gauchos and Hoop Heaven Elite were in the midst of their own exciting finish. (It should be noted that both teams advanced to the semi’s on buzzer beaters late Friday night.)

Hoop Heaven’s Brian Bartner had done a terrific job on top 50 recruit and UConn commit Omar Calhoun, but the Gauchos had still managed to built a lead, largely due to the cold shooting from Hoop Heaven’s stud back court of Alex Mitola and Jaren Sina. Mitola, in particular, was having a terrible game, missing seven threes and going scoreless over the first 20 minutes of the game. But with the score 42-32 and about 10 minutes left on the clock, Mitola was able to get into the paint and score a layup. That bucket was all the 5’8″ Dartmouth commit needed, as he absolutely caught fire.

Mitola scored 25 points in Hoop Heaven’s 28-8 run to close the game, including a stretch where he hit three high-arching threes on consecutive possessions. Once Hoop Heaven grabbed the lead, they didn’t give it up, as Mitola hit eight free throws in the final minute to ice the game.

In the final, it was all Hoop Heaven in the first half.

Takeover’s talented back court was unable to get any penetration against a stout Hoop Heaven defense. Thanks to five combined threes from Mitola and Chris Jenkins in the first half, Hoop Heaven opened up a 30-14 lead at the half. But that lead didn’t last, as Takeover went on a 21-5 run to start the second half, shutting off the open jumpers and pounding the ball into the paint. But once again, it was Mitola who rose to the occasion. After four free throws gave Hoop Heaven a 39-35 lead, Mitola buried a three with just under three minutes left, putting Hoop Heaven up 42-35.

They would go on to cruise to a 47-38 win, taking home the West Virginia Jam Fest 17U title.

Team Final 16U Wins Southern Jam Fest

Team Final 16U Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest Champs

Team Final won the 16U Southern JamFest tournament championship by knocking off Maryland’s Finest in the title game on Sunday afternoon.

That Team Final team might have been able to win the 17U tournament as well. They were that talented.

And when you are dealing with a team that has more than a handful of Division 1 players on the roster — Rondae Jefferson, Austin Colbert, Britton Lee, Davon Reed — its easy to gloss over a kid like John Davis. The blue collar on Team Final’s jersey is especially fitting for Davis, a 6’4″ forward that epitomizes the term junkyard dog. He defends, he rebounds, he hustles up and down the floor, and he’s not afraid of throwing down a thunderous, lefty dunk over a defender.

“I try to focus on rebounds,” Davis said. “Rebounds, going to the basket, driving hard, dunking the ball. Just being real aggressive.”

There is no question that Davis is a Division 1 basketball talent. He’s one of those players where saying that he lacks a position is almost a compliment. To define would be to constrict; Davis isn’t just a combo-forward, he can handle the ball and shoot from the perimeter as well. Simply put, he’s a basketball player.

“I work on a lot of stuff 1-through-5,” Davis said, referring to his position on the floor. “Handling the ball, shooting the ball, posting up sometimes.”

Like most of the players on Team Final, Davis is getting quite a bit of recruiting interest from the Big 5 schools — he said St. Joe’s and Temple have offered him, and while Rutgers and Seton Hall are recruiting him, Delaware is the only other school to offer.

It begs the questions: can Davis, who said he wants to play the two or the three in college, play at the high-major level? He’s got the athleticism, he’s got the skill set, and he certainly plays hard enough. The only this holding him back right now is his height. At 6’4″, Davis would have to be more of an off-guard than a small forward at the Big East level. Is he quick enough to play the two? Big enough to play the three? Will he be quick and/or big enough by the time he enrolls in college in 2013?

Who knows.

What is clear, however, is that if Davis does fall to the A-10 or the CAA, who ever gets him will be getting a helluva player.

Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp

Say Hello To My Little Friend, Montana

Montana Mayfield isn’t a highly touted prospect.

Mayfield, a 5’10” point guard in the class of 2012 and a senior-to-be at Philly’s Roman Catholic High School, has a reputation for being a steady, sure-handed point guard that knows how to run a basketball team. The lefty has a strong, tight handle and the quickness to get into the lane against just about any defender, but, according to ESPN’s recruiting profile, Mayfield “definitely more of a pass first player.”

Montana Mayfield

Montana Mayfield willed his team to victory against favored team Baltimore Elite to advance NJ ABC out of pool play.

He certainly didn’t appear that way on Saturday afternoon, as Mayfield scored 31 points to lead Team NJABC to an 80-71 win over the Baltimore Panthers.

Making Mayfield’s performance all the more impressive is that it came against Aquille Carr, a top 50 point guard in the class of 2013. Carr still managed to score 21 points in the loss, but the majority of those came late in the game.

For Mayfield, going up against a talent like Carr makes him play better.

“It makes you want to play harder,” Mayfield said. “It makes you want to attack him. You respect him, but at the same time you don’t want to let him know that you have respect for him, so you go at him.”

Its part of the reason Mayfield looks forward to coming to Hoop Group events.

“You play against the best people. I get to show everybody what I can do,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield recently picked up an offer from Rice, and lists Virginia Tech and Siena as the schools he is the most interested in.

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